It Began In A Basement: Medical Clinic In Northern Westchester Celebrates 50 Years

A medical clinic in Northern Westchester that serves thousands of people across the Hudson Valley is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. 

Open Door Family Medical Center in Ossining.

Open Door Family Medical Center in Ossining.

Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

Open Door Medical Clinic, located in Ossining at 165 Main St., first opened in the fall of 1972 and currently serves more than 63,000 people in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, and Ulster counties, offering affordable services such as primary care, behavioral health, women’s health, dental care, and vision care, according to clinic officials. 

The clinic began in the basement of downtown Ossining's First Baptist Church, first serving around one thousand patients. The clinic then expanded to its current site in 1976, in what was formerly the Hilliker’s Department Store, clinic officials said. 

Since opening in the Ossining location, the clinic has also opened branches in Port Chester, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Sleepy Hollow, and Brewster. 

The clinic first started with the goal of becoming a "community health center," which began to open around the country in the mid-1960s to improve the health of communities through affordable, high-quality medical care, according to clinic officials. 

"Open Door opened during a time when racial tensions ran high in Ossining and affordable health care was out of reach for many of its residents," clinic officials said. 

Now, the clinic is preparing for its next 50 years and is expecting to serve more than 80,000 patients a year by 2030. 

"Our mission is to reach new communities, enrich our service offerings, and continue to uphold the highest standards of quality, patient-centered, affordable health care. We’re proud of how far we’ve come, and look forward to further meeting the needs of our communities in the years ahead," said Lindsay Farrell, who has been serving as the clinic's president for 25 years. 

Some of the clinic's first volunteers are proud of what the organization has grown into. 

"It was a privilege to make a difference in people’s lives. These were people who had no place to go and who no one was paying attention to. It wasn’t a job. It was a mission. And filling that need was very heartwarming and satisfying," said Carolyn Lane, one of the organization's first nurse practitioners who started out volunteering and was then hired in the mid-1970s.

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